Jarred King, President of Swagger Agency swings by the studio to give us the low down on design strategies and creative execution.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Jay Curry: We’re back. Hello, Texas. Welcome to Texas Business Radio. We got a great program going today. We’re talking about marketing and advertising. We’ve got some real talent and some very interesting businesses for you to hear. This is going to be good stuff. Before we get started, let me remind you, Texasbusinessradio.com, that’s where it is. You don’t have to take notes. You just sit back, relax. If you’re driving, keep both hands on the wheels and just enjoy this segment. I’m Jay Curry, your host for this segment. We have, in the studio, Jarred King, who is the founder, owner, you name it, chief bottle washer, he tells me, of Swagger Agency, a marketing and advertising. Jarred, thank you for joining us.
Jarred King: Thank you for having me.
Jay Curry: Tell me, what is Swagger Agency all about?
Jarred King: Swagger is a, as you mentioned, marketing and advertising communications firm. We help businesses connect a business problem down to the more of the marketing execution or deliverable, as a lot of people understand. We’ll take that business problem, we’ll develop a strategic plan, sometimes based on an insight as best we can, then develop some creative solution for that, and then execute upon it.
Jay Curry: It really starts with figuring out what the problem is.
Jarred King: Absolutely. If we don’t understand what the problem is, we can’t provide a good solution.
Jay Curry: Sometimes, marketing and advertising firms just come in, and then you say, “I’d like to have an ad every week on blah, blah, blah,” but you want to start with, “What is the problem you’re trying to solve?”
Jarred King: Absolutely, because while, yes, you can develop materials and creative just based on a simple request, “Build this website, make this video, design this logo,” we feel that it could be so much more effective when you understand what’s a business problem, what’s the underlying conditions that are leading to the situation. No one ever comes to us, because everything’s going perfect.
Jay Curry: Right.
Jarred King: There’s fundamentally something wrong. Their sales are down. There’s new customer that they wanna explore. There’s a product they wanna launch. They could have revenue loss. I mean, who knows. We try to deconstruct that as best as possible, and then come up with a strategic plan, and then execution plan for that.
Jay Curry: Yeah, the reality is, there’s a lot of companies that do this. They’re just really just after that tactical side, I guess you would call it, versus you wanna really work with the owners, do you work with the management team, and sit down and figure out what the problem is, what are the alternatives. You actually help ’em build a strategy for their marketing and advertising.
Jarred King: Absolutely. Look, there’s a lot of great firms out there, who will only work on the more tactical side and execution side. That’s fine. I mean, that’s how we started. I started the company 11 years ago as a video production company. I didn’t understand strategy. I didn’t understand …
Jay Curry: You were very good.
Jarred King: Well, I couldn’t even probably read a balance sheet.
Jay Curry: Yeah.
Jarred King: And so, I can’t fault anyone for where they are. I just have found that there’s more of an opportunity to develop a strategic relationship and partnership with our clients. I think we can do a better job. I think, at the end of the day, we’re still creating stuff. I think we can create more effective stuff when we know, again, what are the issues at stake. What are we trying to solve? What’s the goal?
Jay Curry: You really have an advantage in the sense that you will sit down and strategically think through whatever the problem is. When is it that someone should, that a CEO should call you, and is it the CEO, is it the marketing guru … Do your clients have that? When do they get started with you? When should they call you?
Jarred King: We get called from a variety of folks and a variety of different times. As early as possible is what we like to suggest.
Jay Curry: Before the problem’s too bad.
Jarred King: Right. Absolutely. You know, I’m in a group called, Entrepreneur’s Organization.
Jay Curry: Yeah. Outstanding.
Jarred King: I interface with a lot of CEO’s, a lot of business owners. I have these conversations all the time with them, or marketing director will approach us, or our existing clients will get a referral. You know, I think different people have different exposure to what the issues are. It’s not just about what the issues are, because we can understand, okay, there’s slow customer growth, or product that needs to be launched, whatever the case may be. We can do some research and figure out an end sight and then create a campaign or deliverable, or video, whatever the case may be for that. Also, I think what we bring to the table is, what we call creative futurism, and what is around the corner for the customer for that industry for marketing. This is evolving every single day in a much more rapid pace than it has in the past. Three years ago, four years ago, your marketing mix, or your medium mix was, you know, 60 to 80% TV, radio, traditional. And then, you know, 20 to 40% digital. Now it’s completely inversed. Now, you’re building campaigns that might reference some traditional means, but are primarily digital based. That’s a huge paradigm shift. If you have not seen that coming, then you’ll be left behind. For us, we look at a variety of different clients and their issues, but there’s still a few core fundamental problems, right? And then, okay, well what’s the challenge that exists today. How is that customer behavior gonna evolve tomorrow, so that it might make a new challenge? That’s where we try to connect the dots.
Jay Curry: The way the industry’s going and how technology is impacting it, really is significant and it’s going on rapidly. You can help ’em with that.
Jarred King: Oh absolutely. There’s a lot of stuff out there. You know, I get asked all the time from some of my colleagues and fellow business owners, “Should we be on Linkedin? Should we do Facebook? I heard Instagram is doing video now with IGTV. Should we do that?” There are a lot of ways you can spend your money. No shortage of places. What’s going to be the most effective use of that dollar, and what’s, from a strategic standpoint is gonna move the needle. There are a lot of ways to communicate to a customer, but they’re all at different stages of the kind of buying decision. If they’re not ready to be sold to at that moment, then it’s more of an awareness play. Are you bringing them up to speed with your brand and what the kind of belief in your brand is, with where they are in that kind of buying phase.
Jay Curry: What you’re really, really good at, is figuring out what will get them customers, and then putting the program together to make those potential customers, customers and drive inbound leads.
Jarred King: Absolutely, and ideally retain those new customers.
Jay Curry: Right.
Jarred King: We can sell them a bag of goods, and they will never. They’ll have a high [inaudible 00:07:22] rate. The goal is to get people to believe in you, have an emotional connection with your brand or your company, or your service. If we can get that and it’s authentic, and it works, then that’s the hard part. There’s a lot of noise out there.
Jay Curry: Absolutely. Takes a lot of skills to do this. Talk to us about the types of skills that you have in the organization, that you bring to play, when you come in to help a company.
Jarred King: Well, I think we have a good understanding of, from business standpoint … I mean, cause it has to start with, again a business problem. We understand business. I’m not a most creative person in the world. We’ve got a great creative team, got great strategic team, who can think, “What’s big picture,” and also balance that with a lot of granular research and digging into data. We’ve got some great, more tactical folks, who can build a great, paid search campaign, or design an amazing website. Again, none of that will really be effective if we don’t have an inside into the customer, and into the changes and that customer behavior.
Jay Curry: When you’re doing this upfront, you get a call, and it’s kind of the ideal client. They’ve got a problem, probably in the area of sales tampering off, or leveling and they really wanna get a boomerang going. You sit down … How much time do you spend with them on that upfront piece? Is that something you knock out in an hour, or do you spend a couple weeks, do you … How’s that look?
Jarred King: You know, it really depends. I always say, “As little time as possible.” These things are happening in real time. No one’s saying, “Hey. I’ve got this big problem that, is gonna really manifest itself in a year.” No, it’s likely I need this yesterday. We try to buy as much time as we can. However, sometimes a strategy is simply, “Okay, let’s identify a few quick wins, that we can then develop a longer term strategic objective.” While people understand the need to, again, go through a strategic development process, they need to keep the lights on and the doors open. They need that revenue. They need lead generation. They need customers walking through the door, or hiring them, or their phones to ring. We try to do both. While we can understand after that first meeting, what’s going on, it will likely take another conversation or two, with maybe some different stakeholders to really kind of fully grasp, and again make the best possible recommendation. Again, I can make a recommendation on a million different things. I just don’t know if it’s gonna be the best use of their dollar.
Jay Curry: Gotcha. Folks, we’ve been talking to Jarred King. He’s the founder and CEO of Swagger Agency, marketing, advertising, you name it. A good firm. Outstanding reputation. Been around since 2007, 11 years right?
Jarred King: Mm-hmm. (affirmative) 11 years.
Jay Curry: Got a wonderful set of staff. Great story. Jarred, thank you for joining us. If somebody wants to learn more, how do they get a hold of you?
Jarred King: Swaggeragency.com. Thank you for having me.
Jay Curry: Very good. Alright folks. This is Jay Curry, wrapping up this segment. We’re talking about marketing and advertising. We got some great folks that are gonna be coming in. You don’t wanna miss it. We’re gonna take a break, pay a few bills. We’ll be right back.
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Jay W. Curry
Along with hosting “Texas Business Radio”, Jay is a Professional Certified Coach and Master Chair facilitating four Houston-based Vistage peer groups. In addition to being a best selling non-fiction author, the 2015 release of his award winning novel, Nixon and Dovey: the Legend Returns, adds novelist to his title. Jay holds a BS in Mathematics from Oklahoma State and an MS in Computer Science from Kansas State. You can learn more about Jay HERE.